Year: 2012

Get the Look: Taylor Swift on the November cover of Glamour

I decided to start posting my “Get the look” magazine cover rundown according to the month on the magazine, not the month in which I receive it. It seems odd to be posting September covers in August, and October covers in September, and so on and so forth. Also, I often don’t get to sit down and read the magazines as soon as they land in my mailbox, and I feel a little weird offering you guys fashion suggestions when I haven’t even opened the darn magazine!

We’ll start with Taylor Swift on the November cover of Glamour magazine. I was kind of surprised, though not displeased, to see Taylor rocking her natural curls again after so months courting the straightening iron. (Though I did see she returned to straight hair for the cover of another ladies’ mag recently.)


It would seem that the color red is really big right now, because I’ve seen several magazines with cover stars sporting the shade. Obviously, it’s also a personal color for Taylor, who just dropped a new album titled Red. I really love that Taylor went with short nails and a lined red lip here; I think it’s more classy and chic than long nails and a super-glossy pout. She finished it off with just the right amount of volumizing black mascara.

The combo of a sparkly sequin top and a red skirt is very holiday. I could see her wearing red pumps with this, just to carry on with the color! The single gold bracelet is a nice way to pick up on the top without going overboard in the bling department.

1. Mossimo tank with gold sequins, $24.99, Target
2. Merona Red Skinny Belt, $12.99, Target
3. Brash Kosmic Platform Pumps, $34.99, Payless
4. Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Cinnamon, $1, drugstores
5. Wet n Wild Mega Last Nail Color in I Red A Good Book, $3, drugstores
6. Full Tilt Hi Low Skirt, $17.97, Tilly’s
7. Rhinestoned Bracelet, $4.80, Forever 21

Accessory Friday: sparkly clutch

I’m on a little bit of an H&M kick these days, thanks to the store opening in my town last week. Here’s another item of theirs that I’m itching for this holiday season: a metallic envelope clutch to add sparkle to any party outfit.

Bag, $12.95, H&M stores

Product review: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit

When I got the Kiss Ever Pro strip lashes in my Influenster VoxBox, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to use them–a glass candle in the box broke and it looked like glass might have gotten into the eyelash packaging! Luckily upon closer inspection I saw that there was some inner packaging protecting the lashes from any shards of glass, so I got to try them out when I dressed up for Halloween–and now I have a review for you!

The product: Kiss Ever Pro Lashes Starter Kit, $5.99 at drugstores

The claim: The lashes are supposed to give you the salon look in a snap, with easy application and 24-hour glue.

I tried it: I must first confess that I’ve never tried strip lashes before, so I can’t say whether these are any easier or harder to apply than other brands. I will give you my opinion of these versus individual lashes at the end, though!

These lashes are very thick and full. They’re quite soft and lush, which makes them look very natural (or as natural as false lashes can ever look). Unfortunately, they have a very thick black band at the base. You can’t really see it in the packaging, but it’s impossible to miss once it’s on your lid. To wear these lashes, you will absolutely need an ultra black liquid liner to line your top lids and hide that strip.

I tried using the little lash tweezer and finally gave up; I found it easier to use my fingers to press the strips into place. The glue seems very nice and as a bonus it is latex-free!

Let’s look at my lashes before application, with just a touch of mascara. I do recommend brushing on a bit of black mascara because unless your natural lashes are ultra-black, they will show up oddly against the falsies.

My natural lashes are pretty long, but not overly thick. Now, let’s look at what happens when I add the Kiss strip falsies. I used black liquid liner to finish lining my top lids to disguise the strip, which I think worked very well. Then I curled the strip lashes and my natural lashes together with a lash curler, and added a couple of swipes of ultra black mascara to blend them. Finally, I used a black pencil liner to lightly line my lower lash line and added some waterproof black mascara on my lower lashes to balance it all out.

Now those are some movie star worthy lashes! The glue worked pretty well to keep the lashes on during my evening out and it didn’t irritate my eyes at all. I noticed that after about six hours the corner of one lash strip was starting to come a bit loose, but since this was my first time applying strip falsies I’m blaming that more on my application technique than on the glue.

When it came time to take them off, I found that they peeled off fairly easily, though I did press a makeup remover pad to my eyes for several seconds first to loosen everything up. I cleaned off the lashes with makeup remover and put them back on their tray for storage. They look undamaged and ready to wear another night.

Okay, I promised I would compare these to individual lashes; so, which do I think is better? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the strips. I didn’t like having to disguise that thick black strip, but I suppose in all honesty, if you’re wearing these than you’re not going for subtlety. The biggest reason I would choose small clusters of individual lashes over heavy strip falsies is simply the feel of them: I felt like I had two caterpillars perched on my lids all night long!

That is certainly not the fault of Kiss–the lashes are actually very lightweight and lovely. It’s just an exceedingly odd sensation to be able to see your lashes in your peripherals, and feel that you have giant fuzzy things on your lids. After wearing them all night, I wasn’t as weirded out by the black veil in my upper peripheral vision, but if you’ve never worn strip falsies of this thickness before, it will take some getting used to!

On the other hand, after I took off the strips, my natural lashes looked so sad and thin! I wouldn’t wear these every day, but for a big night out when you want a super-dramatic eye look, they definitely deliver. I don’t think it’s easier or harder to apply either type of lashes; they just require a slightly different approach, though if you’re new to strips, you might want to practice aligning them first to be sure they don’t wind up crooked.

The verdict: Buy them! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another pair of such soft, thick, nice strip lashes for such a low price–and I love that the glue is suitable for those with a latex allergy. Like I said, for everyday wear individual lashes might be better for a lush but more low-key look; however, I’ll definitely be re-using these for my extra-glam date nights, and I’ll be sure to repurchase them in the future. It just goes to show you that it’s good to try something different–you might end up really, really liking it!

If you want to see my full Halloween look, click here!

Disclaimer: I received these lashes courtesy of Influenster for testing purposes; however, that does not affect my commitment to providing you with an honest and thorough review.

October 2012 empties

I’ve seen lots of other bloggers doing monthly “empties” posts, so I thought I’d jump on board with my own! I meant to post this a little sooner, but between the election, all of the news about Hurricane Sandy, and other things, I just haven’t gotten the chance.

I only have four empties this month: Jason Aloe Vera Body Wash, Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo, Alba Botanica Plumeria Hawaiian Conditioner, and Queen Helene Olive Oil Hot Oil Treatment.

Thoughts on these products: The Jason body wash is vegan-friendly and chemical-free and comes in a jumbo liter size for about $14 at Target, which is a fantastic deal. I’m going to try to put up a review of this product soon. This body wash has a fairly gender-neutral, light aloe smell and gets you clean without being harsh on your skin. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the smell simply because I prefer more girly body washes, but my husband likes this stuff so I will keep buying it for him. I know that it does come in other fragrances.

The Giovanni shampoo is one of my favorite hair products ever; I actually just wrote a full-length review on this, so I won’t repeat myself unnecessarily. Suffice it to say: I will definitely buy this again. It leaves my hair super-soft, shiny, and smelling like mint, but doesn’t strip away moisture or color. Love! You can pick it up for $8-$9 at Target or ULTA.

The Alba Botanica was another Target buy and was actually on clearance–but don’t worry, you can still find it for $10.50 at the company’s website. This is another product that I really need to review soon, because as cheesy as it sounds, it was a life-changer for me. The extra $$$ for a conditioner that is chemical-free is really a worthwhile investment; I think it’s safe to say that my color lasts twice as long with this formula as opposed to a regular drugstore conditioner! It also leaves my hair very soft and shiny. I’ll definitely repurchase this in the future.

The final product is the Queen Helene hot oil, and out of the whole batch of empties, this is probably the one that I am least impressed with. To be fair, I look for products that will make my hair silky and moisturized, and this is geared more toward people worrying about strength and breakage. However, the product was a bit difficult to use (compared to conditioning masques) and after using the three tubes, I just didn’t feel like it made enough of a difference for my hair to buy another package. If you’re interested, it costs about $5, and I will be doing a full review of it soon. It’s not a bad product, just not one I’ll rush out to buy again.

So those are my empties for October 2012! If you are doing monthly empties posts leave me a link in your comment so I can check them out!

Random Thursdays: If I Didn’t Have To Work…

Oh, that’s something we’ve all thought, right? I would be less stressed and have time for all of the things that I want to do. All of those projects would suddenly get done: the knitting, the scrapbooking, the mountains of little DIYs that I add to my Pinterest boards but don’t find the time to complete. I would be cooking and baking up a storm. I would have time for all sorts of art events and visits with friends. My house would always be clean and spotless.
Mainly, though…if I didn’t have to work, I would be writing up a storm. I’ve been making microscopically slow process trying to write my first novel, and I do blame my hectic work schedule. It’s very hard to come home from work in the morning, complete chores and errands and a half a dozen other to-dos, work on the blog, play with the cats, visit with the husband (if he’s not at work that day), and then sit down to work on a chapter. With everything in life, there is very little time to write–and when I do sit down to write, half the time, I’m too tired to even type.
As it is, I scrape out a few sentences or a few hundred words as often as I can, but the going is slow. Sometimes I think it will take me years to finish this book! But I’ll keep trying. Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to make a living from writing–and then I won’t have to work, because work and my hobby will become one. Wish me luck!
If you didn’t have to work, what would you be doing? Tell me in the comments!

Product review: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo

I don’t think I’ve posted a full-length product review in some time, have I? Well, today I have a full product review on one of my Holy Grail beauty products: a shampoo that’s not only vegan but can be found at almost any mass retailer in the country (gasp!).

The product: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo ($8-$9 for 8.5 fl oz)

The claim: Invigorating formula is designed to clarify and alleviate flaking scalp. Sulfate-free formula is safe for color-treated hair. Suitable for all hair types.

I tried it: I should first tell you that this review almost didn’t happen. Why? I didn’t buy this for myself–I bought it for my husband! I was trying to find cruelty-free substitutes for his favorite products, and this was the least girly-looking shampoo bottle in the natural beauty section at Target. I figured that if he didn’t like it, I’d use it eventually, since it is a vegan formula.

Flash forward a few days, and he’s raving about how much he likes it. When he recommended I try it, I thought, Why not? I can review it for the blog later. As it turns out, not only did I try it and like it, I LOVED it. I love it so much, I’m going to condense my love down into list form for your convenience.

I love that this shampoo…

  • Is vegan!
  • Smells like candy canes! Even my husband called it “a breath mint for your head”. I love minty-smelling stuff and this one is delightful.
  • Leaves my hair super-shiny and bouncy, but not dry! It’s a delicate balance between clean and over-clean, and I find that shampoos that get your hair and scalp squeaky clean and shiny can also make it feel dry.
  • Cleans so well while remaining sulfate free! I’ve tried sulfate free shampoos in the past that worked okay, but didn’t clean well enough to let me skip a wash on the second day. Again, this shampoo nicely walks the fine line between clean and over-scrubbed.
  • Is affordable! On top of the low price, you can often find sales and/or coupons for this brand at stores like Target and ULTA.
  • Is color-safe! Some shampoos dull your color (whether natural or processed), so it’s great to find one that is color-safe while still so effective.
  • Relieves flaking! If you’re switching over from an animal-tested formula like Head and Shoulders, give this a try. I can’t promise it will be a perfect match for your old dandruff shampoo, but it’s worth a shot; the tea tree oil does a lovely job of clarifying your hair and scalp while remaining all-natural!
  • Is so easy to find! Vegan shampoo that can be purchased at Walmart?! Yes, it’s possible!

My verdict: Buy it in bulk! I actually have trouble staying stocked up on this item, since both the hubby and I use it. This is hands-down my favorite shampoo ever and the scent alone makes me happy every time I wash my hair. I definitely feel like my hair is healthier since switching from a regular chemical-laden formula to this one and I’ll continue to stock up on it every chance I get!

New Beauty Blogger tag!

I saw this tag from Hello Miss Niki and just had to fill it out…I love beauty blogger tags! 

Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging for?

I have been blogging since May 2008; I started blogging because I was really interested in finding affordable, cruelty-free beauty and fashion alternatives to the styles in my favorite magazines!
Whose blog did you fall in love with first?
Hate me for it, but I don’t remember! I will say that there are just so many wonderful bloggers out there that it is hard to play favorites.
Most important part about doing a blog post?
Great photos and proofreading! Whenever I rush my proofing I inevitably go back later and find something that I missed!
What kind of camera do you use?
I use my HP Touchpad for close-ups of my face and for videos, and a little cheapie digital camera from Walmart for everything else.

What was the first blogosphere hyped about product you bought and was it worth the hype?
Everyone in the cruelty-free blogosphere raves about Urban Decay, and after I finally bought some of their lipsticks and a 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil I saw why! Very worth the hype for such lovely, richly pigmented, vegan products. Great packaging and customer service as well.

What are your favorite five things about blogging and being a beauty blogger?

Meeting other bloggers! I live in an area where fashion and beauty aren’t necessarily hot topics, so it’s great to hop online and chat with like-minded ladies!

What have you learned from being a beauty blogger? 
You need to be patient and consistent with your posts, and you need to network. The readers will not come to you; you need to seek them out via social media and networking with other bloggers. In a larger sense, I think is true of life in general: opportunities do not fall in your lap, you have to make them. Blogging has really helped me embrace this principle in other areas of my life!
Have you changed anything since being a beauty blogger?
I’ve learned so much about makeup–what to look for on the ingredients list, how to apply it, etc.

What advice would you give to a beauty blogger just starting out?
The patience/consistency/networking bit (see above). Also, be authentic: don’t try to be someone you’re not, because your readers will sense it. And don’t be snotty; readers will leave in a hurry!

Your favorite eyeshadow palette?
I bought the Physicians Formula Nude Eyeshadow Palette and really love it–I can create a variety of looks from neutral to smoky and it’s very hard to go overboard.

The best beauty deal?
Wet n Wild Megalast Lipsticks. They’ve velvety, come in tons of colors, are long-lasting, and are pretty cheap to boot!

Makeup regrets?
I’ve gotten some products from NYX that I was less than thrilled with…also for a while I kept buying matte foundations, and I don’t know why, because they looked terrible! I also went through a period where I wore way too much eyeliner. I shudder in remembrance.

Name your top five beauty brands!
I only get five? I guess to cover the basics…
  1. Bath and Body Works (body wash and lotion)
  2. Alba Botanica (lips and sun care)
  3. Wet n Wild (color cosmetics)
  4. Giovanni (hair products)
  5. Zoya (nail polish)
Recommend your top five favorite beauty products!
  1. Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo
  2. Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil Conditioner
  3. Bath and Body Works Sensual Amber Body Wash/Lotion/Mist
  4. Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Mascara
  5. Dr. Bronner’s Naked Lip Balm  

So there! I tag all of you who read this post and would like to do it! Let me know if you do, I’d love to read your answers!

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award!

Three lovely ladies have nominated me for the Liebster Award! If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically a nomination from someone who loves your blog to an up-and-coming blogger with less than 200 followers. I’ve been nominated by Nikki from Heaven Has Cupcakes, Amy from Small Budget Beauty, and Ainsley from Wallflowers!

As a nominated blogger, I have to:

  • Reveal 11 random things about myself.
  • Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger.
  • Tag 11 other blogs with less than 200 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated…no tag backs!
  • Write up 11 questions for my nominees!
What fun! I actually was tagged in a similar blogger tag recently which I think was based on the Liebster, but since I love tags, I’m more than happy to wind up with a new set of questions!
Here are 11 random facts about me:
  1. I have never been out of the United States.
  2. I still have my entire stuffed animal collection from my childhood.
  3. When I was little I wanted to be a singer, but I had terrible stage fright!
  4. I can bake bread from scratch.
  5. Panda bears are one of my favorite animals.
  6. I have not attended any weddings since I was a very small child. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
  7. I’m constantly chewing on my lower lip. Very bad habit, I know!
  8. I don’t like the color purple. I actually find it kind of depressing.
  9. Autumn is my favorite season.
  10. I have never flown on an airplane.
  11. I always cry during movies when an animal gets hurt.

Okay, here are my answers to Nikki’s 11 questions:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging? To share my passion for affordable, cruelty-free fashion and beauty! 
  2. Do you have a vlog channel?  If not, would you ever consider vlogging? I do: 
  3. What is your absolute favorite beauty product? Lip balm–I can’t feel pretty with chapped lips! I love Dr. Bronner’s Naked balm–no fragrances, no dyes, no flavors, nothing gross. 
  4. What is your favorite store to visit when shopping for beauty products? Ulta. Drool. If they carried more shades of Zoya nail polish in-store I’d be doomed. 
  5. What is your favorite clothing store? Probably Forever 21. I spend way too much money in there. 
  6. Where did you grow up? The Midwest. No, I didn’t live on a dairy farm, just near lots of them! 
  7. What has been your favorite purchase in the last month? (Not just beauty or fashion – anything!) A pair of black Brash platform pumps from Payless that go with everything! 
  8. Where do you do most of your blogging? (Your bedroom, your dining room, a coffee house?) The office/spare room in my house. 
  9. What’s a current beauty or fashion trend that you wish would go away? I hate long, pointy nails. Also: fake tans. 
  10. Who is your inspiration? Style-wise, I look at ladies like Kate Beckinsale, Rachel McAdams, Emily Blunt, Diane Kruger, and Angelina Jolie. 
  11. If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why? Kate Beckinsale–I love her movies, and she’s super-stylish.

11 questions from Amy:

  1. What is your favorite item from your makeup collection? Probably my Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash mascara. I wish it were waterproof, but it’s the best thus far for natural yet long and fluttery lashes that don’t cost an arm and a leg!
  2. What’s your favorite movie? The Lord of the Rings.
  3. Name one makeup item that you would really like to receieve as a gift. The Urban Decay Vice Palette! 
  4. Do you wear makeup every time you leave your house? Nope! I wear makeup very little actually for work, and when I do go out I only wear it if I feel like it. Sometimes I just don’t bother with it, and my husband doesn’t care! If anyone dislikes me for showing my real face, I figure they’re not worth impressing anyway.
  5. Name your favorite reality TV show. I don’t watch reality TV! I watch very little TV, period!
  6. Do you use more neutral or bright colored makeup? Neutrals. Right now, though, I’ve loving a vampy lip.
  7. What is your favorite color to wear on your nails? Any shade of pink!
  8. What made you start your blog? My interest in cruelty-free beauty and affordable fashion!
  9. Heels or flats? Boots!
  10. Name one of your guilty pleasures. York Peppermint Patties.
  11. Do you have any pets? Two cats, my dear furbabies! 

11 questions from Ainsley:

  1. What or who inspired you to blog? I guess the lack of cruelty-free bloggers–though now I realize that I probably just hadn’t found them yet!  
  2. What moment in your life are you most proud of? I have some that are a little too private to share. One I will share is from today: I registered to vote for the very first time! It’s a good feeling knowing you’re putting your two cents in.
  3. If you could recommend one book for someone to read, what book would it be? Urgh, there are so many I love, it’s hard to pick just one! But I’m absolutely in love with Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, which is a great time travel/historical fiction/romance/adventure hybrid. It actually kicks off a long series; I’m impatiently waiting for the eighth book to come out. So worth the wait, though!
  4. What is your favorite color combination? Black and black. Hah! Or soft pinks and greens. 
  5. What is your go to comfort food? Chocolate! 
  6.  If you could live in another time period, when would it be? I can’t say I’d choose any other than the time I’m in!  
  7. If you could only keep one personal item from your room/house, what would it be and why? Photos.
  8. What is your go to makeup or beauty product? Lip balm! Can’t live without it! 
  9. If you could move to another state, which one would you move to? Washington or Oregon–I love the coast. 
  10. Besides blogging, how do you spend your time on the internet? Facebook, fashion and beauty websites, Pinterest (hours and hours). 
  11. Favorite perfume/body spray? Bath and Body Works Signature Collection Sensual Amber. I’m addicted to that scent!

    Okay, time for me to nominate 11 other bloggers and give them 11 questions to answer! (If I tag you and you’ve already been tagged, I’m sorry!) I nominate…

    1. Crazy, Beautiful Makeup
    2. Cute Makeup
    3. Emma Louise
    4. Jojo’s Beauty Guide
    5. London-bred Ladies Who Lunch
    6. MakeUp Guinea Pig
    7. Three Six Five
    8. Vivacious Venus Beauty Oasis
    9. The Glambulance
    10. Pretty Squared
    11. Paperbacks and Polish

    And here are my eleven questions:

    1. Eye makeup or lip makeup?
    2. Are you trendy or classic (beauty and fashion alike)?
    3. What’s your favorite beauty/fashion magazine or website?
    4. What beauty product can you not live without?
    5. What’s the biggest dud makeup product you’ve ever bought?
    6. Favorite article of clothing in your closet?
    7. Where/what is your dream vacation?
    8. Which do you prefer: watching a video tutorial or reading one on a blog? Do you have a preferred format when crafting your own tutorials?
    9. If you weren’t beauty blogging, what would you be doing? (Job, life goal, whatever!)
    10. What piece of pop culture are you secretly obsessed with–but your friends would never guess it? (It could be a movie, a celebrity, anything!)
    11. Favorite thing to do on a day off?

    Thanks again to the three lovely bloggers who tagged me, and I hope the bloggers I tagged will have fun filling out the questions!